In former days there was a man named Hamid. In his youth he lived in Delhi as the servant of Tughril, that same Tughril who late in life had himself crowned as king in Lukhnauti. In short, this Farid became the servant of that Tughril, and he remained in his service till one day, as he was waiting on Tughril, a form appeared to him. ‘O Hamid,’ it asked, ‘why are you waiting on this man?’ Having spoken, it disappeared.
Hamid was puzzled about who this could be. Then a second time, as he was waiting on Tughril, again that form appeared and asked: ‘O master Hamid, why are you waiting on this man?’ Hamid remained perplexed. Then he saw this form a third time, and again it asked: ‘O Khwaja Hamid, why are you waiting on this man?’ But this time Hamid rejoined: ‘Why should I not wait on him, since I am his servant, he my master. I receive wages from him; why should I not wait on him?’
Replied the form: ‘You are wise, while he is ignorant. You are free, but he remains enslaved. You are righteous, he is corrupt’. Having spoken, it disappeared. When Hamid understood what the form had said, he went to the king and announced: ‘If I owe you some service or have unpaid debts, tell me, for I will no longer be your servant’.
‘What nonsense are you speaking?’ retorted the king. ‘You must be mad’. But Khwaja Hamid stood firm. ‘No, I will no longer serve you. I have been blessed with contentment’.
(The above story is told by shaykh Nizamuddin Awliya and can be found in his discourses as translated into English by Bruce B. Lawrence) This is from the same source:
When the master – may Allah remember him with favour – came to this point in the story, I interjected: ‘That form that appeared to Hamid was surely one of the men of the unseen?’ ‘No,’ replied the master. ‘Whenever a man cleans his inner self of defilements, he will see many things of this sort. A myriad of such qualities exist in each of us, but on account of despicable deeds they remain occluded. Only when the inner self becomes completely translucent can a person recognise the many, many wonders within himself’. And then on his blessed lips came this verse:
That musk-pod you seek will deep inside you remain,
For your fate is such that no scent of it you’ll gain.
The discussion in the discourses of Khwaja Nizamuddin Awliya at a certain moment turned to the men of God and how they ought to remain hidden till Allah, the Almighty, Himself has decided to reveal their identity. Khwaja Nizamuddin Awliya then told a short anecdote about Khwaja Abu’l Husain Nuri (d. 907 C.E.), may Allah illumine his grave!
“O God,” he once prayed, “hide me in Your country among Your servants”. From the beyond he heard a voice: “For Allah nothing is hidden, nor is Allah Himself hidden!”
In the same connection Khwaja Nizamuddin Awliya went on to tell another story: “In the vicinity of Nagawr there lived a friend of God known as Hamiduddin Nagawri (d. 1276 C.E.), may Allah grant him mercy and forgiveness! He was asked: “How is it that after their death some of the friends of God are never remembered by name while in the case of others their posthumous fame spreads to the end of the earth? What causes this disparity in the state of these friends of God?”
Hamiduddin answered: “He who strives to become famous during his lifetime, after he dies his name will be forgotten, while he who conceals his identity during his lifetime, after he dies his name will resound throughout the world”.